Saturday 6th February
Teesside’s first comic con of the year kicks off this weekend with Teesside Unleashed, taking place at Marton Country Club on Saturday 6th February.
Organised by Hall or Nothing Events, and Lee Hunter (who some of you may remember from last November’s Whitby Sci Fi & Comic Con) of Hunter Toys based in nearby Stockton-on-Tees, Teesside Unleashed is back for the seventh year.
As well as all the usual stalls that make up a convention, Teesside Unleashed will have some very special guests. Following all the excitement that has surrounded the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens last year, Teesside Unleashed is going back to the original trilogy with its VIP guests: David Prowse and Femi Taylor.
Darth Vader himself will be dropping into Teesside Unleashed this year, James Earl Jones may be the one remembered as the voice of Darth Vader, but David Prowse was the man in the suit. As well as playing the “third greatest cinematic villain” (according to the American Film Institute), former actor and bodybuilder David Prowse has also played roles in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971) and the original Casino Royale (1967).
Alongside David will be dancer and actress Femi Taylor, who is probably best known for her role in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983) as Jabba the Hutt’s Twi’lek slave dancer Oola, and was the only cast member to reprise their role for the extra scenes released as part of the special edition of the film in 1997. Femi also played the part of Tantomile in the 1981 London production of Cats, and in the 1998 television movie of the same name she played the role of Exotica, a part which was written specifically for her and that film.
Femi and David will be there all day signing autographs and chatting to fans about their vast acting experiences.
And if Darth Vader and Oola aren’t enough for you, prop company Star Warz for Hire will be returning to Teesside Unleashed once again, with a life-size Jabba the Hutt, along with R2-D2 and R5-D4. The Path of the Sith Acolyte Training will be making their first appearance at the event with two training schools, offering lightsabre training, a certificate, and photo with the Sith Lord and Jedi Master. (There is an extra charge for The Path of the Sith Acolyte Training)
But, of course, it’s not all about Star Wars, there is much more to the day.
Jurassic Parties will be attending with Daisy, a six feet tall and 12 feet long dinosaur who is great with children, she only ate two in all of 2015. Over 50 traders will be in attendance selling everything from comics, toys and collectables, to art, geeky handicrafts and games.
Cosplay groups including The Rebel Legion (the only Lucasfilm approved Star Wars costuming group in the UK) will be on hand all day to offer help and give advice on cosplay and costumes; there is also a costume competition with some fantastic prizes, sponsored by Vectis Auctions. Over 50 different costumers and cosplay groups from all over the country are expected to attend on Saturday, with characters from Star Wars to Star Trek, Deadpool to Optimus Prime, and everything in between set to make an appearance.
Along with all the other events organised by Hunter Toys, Teesside Unleashed will be supporting the Daisy Chain Project, a local charity based in Stockton-on-Tees. Set up in 2003, the Daisy Chain Project supports families affected by autism offering a range of services including support for parents, carers and siblings, as well as events and activities for the whole family on the charity’s 5.5 acre farm in Norton, near Stockton-on-Tees.
Whether you’re a dyed in the wool, fully certified geek, a casual fan, or just want to broaden your horizons, Teesside Unleashed has something for everyone, so get down to Marton Country Club on Saturday, meet new people, support a great cause, and maybe even find something else to geek out about.
Doors open at 11am on Saturday (10am to those with advance tickets)
On the door prices: Adults £5, Under 12s £2, under 5s free
Hunter Toys/Teesside Unleashed website (x)
Daisy Chain Project website (x)